"Hairy Hairless" vs. "True Hairless" - The Truth About "Naked" Dogs.

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Note:  I have considered writing this article for some time as, with any breed, the Crested breed definitely has its politics.  However, there are times when you must say “to hell with politics” and put your mouth where your breeding ethics are.  

I have been approached at shows countless times by curious onlookers with questions about the breed, and they inevitably ask, while pointing to a competitor’s dog, “Why does that dog have more hair than your dog?”  I never stop myself from saying it: “That dog” is a hairy-hairless and my dog is a true hairless.”  Many people new to the breed are surprised to learn that, with a hairy-hairless, the dog must be shaved into the hairless pattern while a true hairless is born that way.  True hairless are hairless by nature. Not by Nair or Norelco.  

The hairless gene is capable of expressing itself in varying degrees of hairlessness, and thus has been largely influenced by “modern” breeding.  Indeed, the hairless Crested can now range from having a complete (or nearly complete) absence of body hair to being so covered in body hair that, when left unshaven, they are indistinguishable from a puff to the untrained eye.  

The AKC breed standard clearly states the ideal and correct type for the varieties of Chinese Crested Dog, as follows:   

“…The Hairless with hair only on the head, tail, and feet and the Powderpuff, completely covered with hair.”  (http://www.akc.org/breeds/chinese_crested/) 

Alas, many breeders ignore this written standard and turn a blind eye to it in favor of thicker, heavier furnishings, at the cost of producing an animal who also has a great deal of body hair.  Body hair that must be removed in order to present the required appearance.   

Appallingly, this practice, this competition for the biggest furnishings at the expense of hairlessness, has become so pervasive within the breed that it is becoming increasingly rare to see a true hairless. Fewer are competing in the conformation ring, even fewer win, and therefore are rarer to be born.  The popular method is now producing “hairless” dogs that have so much body hair that the breeder sometimes must strain to discern whether or not a puppy is indeed a hairless, or if it is actually a puff!   

I finally have to say it.  Intentionally breeding toward these animals is a practice that is tantamount to the perversion of the unique and correct feature of the hairless Crested.  The standard clearly states why.  It carefully states not only where the hairless is supposed to have hair, but how any present hair is to be placed:   

“The Hairless variety has hair on certain portions of the body: the head (called a crest), the tail (called a plume) and the feet from the toes to the front pasterns and rear hock joints (called socks)... 

Head: Crest begins at the stop and tapers off between the base of the skull and the back of the neck. Hair on the ears and face is permitted on the Hairless and may be trimmed for neatness in both varieties…In the Hairless variety, two-thirds of the end of the tail is covered by long, flowing feathering referred to as a plume.”  (http://www.akc.org/breeds/chinese_crested/) 

The blatant disregard for the breed standard is incredible to see at conformation shows.  Hairy-hairless dogs are being shaved at ringside with screen shavers so that their skin may temporarily fit the standard of “soft and smooth”.  Hairy-hairless dogs are being presented with incorrect crests, with hair shaven in a shawl pattern down past the shoulder blades, and some with hair over the front of the shoulders.  Increasingly I see tails fully covered in hair, instead of “two-thirds of the end of the tail is covered with hair.” Of course there are always the legs with clean razor lines just above the joints with no hint of the taper mentioned in the standard. 

And why?  The furnishings that come easily with breeding hairy-hairless dogs are flashier to the common eye.  With careful breeding, it is possible to have a correctly hairless dog AND full furnishings. 

It is D’Nude’s firm ethic that this most unique of breeds must be protected! It must not be perverted to a mockery of the standard because of a fad for furnishings!  This breed did not begin this way and is not described this way in any breed standard for the Chinese Crested the world over! It is a travesty to destroy the unique feature of hairlessness progressively with each generation. 

To give final illustration, this link shows the Chinese Crested breed from pets to champions, before the fashion trend of producing morbidly exaggerated furnishings began in the mid 90’s: http://www.chinesecrested.no/en/registry/oldies/   

Many argue that the foundation animals are not as beautiful as the dogs seen in the show ring today, but what stands is that they, and dogs like them now, are correct. They are hairless by birth, not by razor or depilatory, and have furnishings as described in the standard. As a side note, yes, those without furnishings are as incorrect as those that are nearly fully coated! 

It is D’Nude Chinese Cresteds conviction to strive to produce dogs that are correct to the written standard. In the case of the hairless variety, our goal is to produce dogs with hair not exceeding that described in the standard and with skin that is “smooth and soft” by nature – not having to be shaved to obtain that result. Further, we will not show or place in a show home any dog requiring more than minimal removal of hair such as the short fine body hair present on many true hairless (similar to the fine, short hair sometimes found on the human arm) or the sparse, fine line of hair sometimes found down the center of the back of more heavily furnished dogs who otherwise fit within the true hairless bounds of the written standard.

This article was wirtten by Deborah Mihalko and edited by Lydia Roach.
Special thanks to Lydia for keeping me as PC as possible.

Life without a dog is like dancing without music. You CAN do it, but WHY?